The Deadlift – I’m a Freak: Part 1

Less technical than the squat and a greater test of all round strength due to it needing a vice like grip as well as a powerful posterior chain.

In recent years deadlift records have often stood still, whilst Squat and Bench records have exploded. The lifting equipment in Powerlifting has let lifters improve their Squats and Benches very quickly. However, equipment plays little role in deadlifting and it basically takes hard work, clever planning and the right attitude to pull big.

There is no other lift that depends on your state of mind as much as the deadlift. Indeed, if I tried to pull 850lbs in the wrong state it may not budge.

But come meet day, and I have pulled over 1000lbs…

And that’s why I say I’m a FREAK!

I was born to deadlift.

In the next few email newsletters I’m going to share with you some of my greatest ever deadlift training cycles.

These training cycles led to world records and my creation of a wholenew bracket for Deadlifting:

The 1000lbs club.

In total 13 men have pulled over 900lbs in Powerlifting competition. I’ve pulled over 900lbs in competition nearly 40 times!

Now you may be thinking to yourself; why am I telling you all this? And that’s a very good question. It’s because I want to help you achieve your Deadlift goals and get you to discover the secrets of a big pull.

The up coming training cycles and assistance work (in the next newsletters) will help you design your own training cycles better than ever before.

But I’m not going to make you wait until then for some “good stuff”.

So check this:

8 Ways to Supersize your Deadlift

  1. Perfect your technique. The best athletes in all sports tend to have great technique.
  2. Begin your deadlift with straight arms. It’s a stronger position and it may save you from a nasty Biceps tear
  3. Work out your best stance. Conventional or Sumo?
  4. Don’t max out every week. This is a silly idea on any lift, but it will probably burn you out faster on the deadlift than any other movement in the gym
  5. Train explosively. Speed can help you blast through any sticking point
  6. Train from blocks some of the time. This will help you feel heavier weights than you are used to
  7. Don’t be afraid to have a week off from deadlifting. Sometimes you’ll need it
  8. If you don’t want a week off but don’t feel up to pulling heavy… do speed work (Try 50% x 3 x 5)

How To Squat 1214lbs – Part 2

In part 1 of “How to Squat 1214lbs” I showed you the exact Squat cycle that I used in training for that lift. If you haven’t read part 1, you can do so here:

In this newsletter I’m going to show you the assistance exercises that went with the Squat cycle you read about last time.

Before we get to the program, here’s 3 secrets on how I use assistance exercises in my training:

  1. Assistance exercises compliment
    the main movements. They do
    not replace them
  2. Assistance work is never performed
    to failure. I always leave a couple
    of reps in the tank on all assistance
    exercises
  3. If an assistance exercise does not
    help me get stronger on the main
    movements and/or help prevent injury…
    I drop it from my program

Assistance Exercises I used to Squat 1214lbs

12 weeks out to 6 weeks out from competition:

(movement x sets x reps)

Leg Press: 5 x 12 – 20

Leg Curls: 5 x 10 – 15

Calf Raises: 5 x 20 – 30

DB Side Bends: 5 x 10/side

Crunches: 5 x 10

Weighted Plank: 5 x 30 seconds

6 weeks to 0 weeks out from competition:

Everything stays the same with the following
exceptions:

Leg Press is dropped

Sets go from 5 per movement to 3 per
movement

So there you have it. You now know exactly how I cycle my Squats up to my biggest competition lifts AND how I compliment that brutal Squat training with assistance exercises.

I’ll leave you with:

2 questions to ask yourself when choosing AssistanceExercises:

  1. Will this movement help me get stronger on my main lifts?
  2. Will this movement help me prevent injuries?

If you think of an assistance exercise and you can not answer yes to at least one of the above questions, then that movement should probably not be in your strength training program.

How To Squat 1214lbs – Part 1

Only 5 men in history have ever Squatted 1200lbs or more in a Powerlifting meet. I’m fortunate to say that I’m one of them!

For that reason, in this 2 part newsletter I’m gonna share with you the exact training cycle that I used to get me ready for the biggest Squat of my life.

I can’t really describe in words what 1214lbs felt like on my shoulders, but “heavy” doesn’t do it justice! It felt like the weight of the world bearing down on me.

In fact, 1214 pounds is half a small car.

Needless to say, the feelings I had when I squatted 1214lbs in competition were awesome!

Whatever your strength level right now you will find some stuff in these next 2 emails that you will be able to use to build a freaky Squat.

Whether you are traning for your first bodyweight Squat or your first 1000lbs Squat, I know you will discover some good stuff by reading this.

Intro over, let’s get to the fun bit:

The Training Cycle for 1214lbs

What you see below are the top set of Squats that I worked up to each week leading upto the meet where I squatted 1214lbs.

I Squatted on a Wednesday and these top sets came after a good warm up and in the region of 8 to 10 warm up sets of Squats.

The top sets you see here were followed by some speed sets to work on explosive power.

12 weeks out: 506lbs x 5 reps
(Belt and old knee wraps)

11 weeks out: 539lbs x 5 reps
(Belt and old knee wraps)

10 weeks out: 572lbs x 5 reps
(Belt and old knee wraps)

9 weeks out: 616lbs x 5 reps
(Belt and old knee wraps)

8 weeks out: 660lbs x 5 reps
(Belt and old knee wraps)

7 weeks out: 726lbs x 3 reps
(Old briefs, belt and old knee wraps)

6 weeks out: 792lbs x 3 reps
(Old briefs, belt and old knee wraps)

5 weeks out: 858lbs x 3 reps
(Old briefs, suit bottoms, belt and old knee wraps)

4 weeks out: 924lbs x 2 reps
(Old briefs, suit bottoms, belt and old knee wraps)

3 weeks out: 990lbs x 2 reps
(Old briefs, suit bottoms, belt and old knee wraps)

2 weeks out: 550lbs x 3 reps
(Belt and old knee wraps)

1 week out: REST

So there you have it. Exactly how I trained to produce one of the biggest competition Squats of all time.

Before we finish I’m going to share with you 3 secrets that you should take away with you having seen this training cycle:

Superhuman Squat Secret # 1

If you want a big Squat you gotta Squat! This sounds simple but there’s a lot of people out there right now making this harder than it really is.

If you want to be good at anything, then practise that thing.

If you wanted to be a great tennis player you wouldn’t spend all your time playing Squash, would ?

Duh!

So why are so many people who want a big Squat(who should be Squatting), spending all their time doing everything but Squatting in the gym?

Spend your time wisely.

Superhuman Squat Secret # 2

You don’t have to train heavy all the time.

You’ll see that I didn’t train above 990lbs in the gym, yet I Squatted 1214 on competition day.

Nobody cares about big gym lifts… It’s what you do on the platform that counts!

Peak for the meet.

Superhuman Squat Secret # 3

Cycling works.

You will see that I start out my training cycle quite light (for me) and peak with huge weights come meet day.

Cycling, (starting out light) and working upto a new Personal Best has many benefits over other training styles.

Most notably, it gives your body the easier training weeks you need so that you don’t burn out through over training.

These lighter training weeks still allow you to practise what you are trying to get good at. But because you are not lifting Max weights your body and mind have chance to heal and recover.

Now you’ve discovered little about how to plan a winning training cycle, Go GET A STRONG SQUAT!

Get A Grip! (Grip Competition Video)

I recently did my first grip competition and
I won it!

The event was held by David Horne who has
one of the strongest pairs of hands ever.
The guy is a true grip master.

It was a pretty fun day and surprisingly tough
work…. I didn’t realise there were this many
ways to train grip.

Check out the video and you’ll get some ideas
for how to train your grip. Regardless of what
sport you do, a stronger grip can only help.

I’ll be back to train with David Horne soon so
keep an eye out for more videos.

Andy Bolton